Politics & Policy

Gun-Rights Group to Sue Trump Administration Over Bump-Stock Ban

A bump fire stock that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, October 4, 2017. (George Frey/REUTERS)

Gun Owners of America, a pro-gun-rights political-advocacy organization, announced Tuesday that it will file a legal challenge to the Trump administration’s ban on the sale and possession of bump stocks, which was announced just hours earlier.

Acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker issued a final rule change Tuesday that expanded the definition of an illegal machine gun under federal law to include devices that, when affixed to semi-automatic weapons, increase their rate of fire to mimic that of a fully automatic weapon.

Individuals in possession of bump stocks have 90 days to destroy or turn them over to law enforcement before the amended regulation takes effect.

“As written, this case has important implications for gun owners since, in the coming days, an estimated half a million bump stock owners will have the difficult decision of either destroying or surrendering their valuable property — or else risk felony prosecution,” Erich Pratt, Gun Owners of America executive director, said in a statement.

The rule change reverses a 2010 determination by Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms officials that bump stocks could not be prohibited under the 1934 federal law outlawing machine guns. Those officials ruled that Congress would have to pass separate legislation if they wanted the devices outlawed.

“ATF’s claim that it can rewrite Congressional law cannot pass legal muster. Agencies are not free to rewrite laws under the guise of ‘interpretation’ of a statute, especially where the law’s meaning is clear,” Pratt added.

The bump stock, a previously obscure device known only to gun enthusiasts, was thrust to the center of the national gun-control debate in October 2017 after Stephen Paddock used a number of them to carry out the deadliest mass shooting America’s history.

Paddock murdered 58 concertgoers from his perch in a Las Vegas hotel room and was later found dead by suicide, surrounded by 23 rifles, 14 of which were fitted with bump stocks.

Most Popular


Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More

The Plot against Kavanaugh

Justice on Trial, by Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino (Regnery,  256 pp., $28.99) The nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court was the political event of 2018, though not for the reasons anyone expected. All High Court confirmations these days are fraught with emotion and tumult ... Read More
Politics & Policy

He Just Can’t Help Himself

By Saturday, the long-simmering fight between Nancy Pelosi and her allies on one side and the “squad” associated with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the other had risen to an angrier and more destructive level at the Netroots Nation conference. Representative Ayanna Pressley, an African-American Massachusetts ... Read More
White House

On Gratitude and Immigration

Like both Rich and David, I consider it flatly inappropriate for the president of the United States to be telling Americans -- rhetorically or otherwise -- to “go back where you came from.” In consequence, you will find no defense of the president from me, either. What Trump tweeted over the weekend was ... Read More

Gender Dissenter Gets Fired

Allan M. Josephson is a distinguished psychiatrist who, since 2003, has transformed the division of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychology at the University of Louisville from a struggling department to a nationally acclaimed program. In the fall of 2017 he appeared on a panel at the Heritage Foundation ... Read More

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More